I love her and she loves me. For the past twelve years Seiko and I have been constant companions. The bond between us is powerful and not fully understood.
Her cataract-clouded eyes shine green in the light these days, but she can still sense when I am in need of her. The love simply radiates from her ageing frame. While her ears may not hear as well as a few years ago, she still likes to have them scratched by anyone who happens by. Rub her chest and you’re her best friend for life.
She sees me put on my joggers. The ears are alert and she waits for the next signal. I put on my favourite walking jacket. She is sitting at the front door. I pick up my keys and mobile phone. She is waiting for the lead to click to her collar. She looks out the door.
Our walks around the neighbourhood keep her sense alert and help to lessen the effects of canine senility, like barking at nothing in particular – especially at night. We have a ritual. I pick up the lead, she’s panting, waiting for the door to open. We move outside and take a few steps. I drape the lead over her back while I collect the bags and scoop. I go back to her, pick up the lead and we set off. At each roadside, she stops and sits. I rub her chest and praise her. Along the way she plays the sniffing game. We walk down the street and suddenly she stops, almost wrenching my arm out of its socket. She draws the scent in deeply and sniffs around the area. She fully investigates every new blade of grass, tree and lightpost where an animal has paused and left a scent. Who has been? Mmm, that’s Ralph from down the street…we move a few more steps and pause again. It’s easy to see who’s the boss here. We reach the unleash area. She has a drink and wanders around, occasionally almost breaking into a trot. She loves meeting all the other dogs and their owners. There’s always a person ready to give her a scratch.
It’s a slow trek home playing the sniffing game until we reach the last, steep hill. She perks up at the two dogs that greet her through the gate at the top. They bark and attempt to break out. It inspires her to stand tall with ears erect and tail outstretched. She pulls on the lead and lets out a Woof! There’s spark in the old girl yet! The three dogs jostle, and then it’s over until next time Seiko heads home. The tail drops and she is feeling her age again. For a moment, there was a flash of pride and energy she had in her prime. Nearly home. She makes a few feeble attempts to sniff, but all she really wants is another drink and a long rest on her favourite bag.
This has been reproduced with permission from the author and publisher. Taken from the book Armed with Chocolate Frogs – Living with advanced breast cancer. Kate Carey Productions